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Heat and power plant key for low-carbon future

Combined heat and power plants could help to cut electricity demand, which is forecast to climb above 150 gigawatts by 2050, by 13 per cent, according to a new report.

The study, commissioned by the Combined Heat and Power Association and conducted by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Surrey, found that relying on electricity for heating homes and powering cars could pose 'enormous risks' to energy supplies.

It raised concerns that Government plans to shift the UK towards a low-carbon economy potentially included too a high degree of electrification in heating homes and running transport, such as electric cars.

The report said that to use more electricity for transport and heating, there would need to be quick and sustained progress on building new, low-carbon power supplies.

CHPA director Graham Meeks said: 'The report highlights the enormous risks we face in focusing on electricity to meet our demands for energy services.

'But it also demonstrates that more robust, dynamic and efficient pathways are open to us, recovering the waste heat from power generation, to create a more integrated and resilient energy system.'

The report recommended an expansion of the network to meet higher peak demand and a further roll out of high quality insulation for all buildings.